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9 Must-Know Trends Shaping the Future of Destination Marketing

Destination marketing campaigns are one of the most effective ways that DMOs attract tourists to their locality, encouraging spending on accommodations, dining, transportation and shopping, thus generating significant revenue and supporting job creation within a region.

Yomn Elsawy
June 8, 2023
Destination marketing is aimed to shape the future of tourism, as it leverages digital technologies and data-driven strategies to target and engage a global audience, fostering sustainable growth and enhancing visitor experiences. By harnessing the power of user-generated storytelling and immersive content, destination marketing creates compelling narratives that captivate travellers, inspiring them to explore new places and creating a positive impact on destinations.


In today's dynamic world of destination marketing, staying ahead of the curve is essential for attracting visitors and creating memorable experiences. To remain competitive, it's crucial for destination marketers to embrace emerging trends that resonate with travellers and capture their imagination. In this blog, we explore nine must-know trends that are revolutionising the future of destination marketing, drawing inspiration from impactful campaigns and innovative techniques employed by industry leaders.

1. Amplify Engagement with User-Generated Content (UGC)

In an era where social media dominates, user-generated content has become a powerful tool for destination marketing. By encouraging travellers to share their experiences through photos, videos, and reviews, destinations can tap into the authentic and influential content generated by their audience. This can be seen through various examples from SnapSea’s clients including Visit Kent. 

70% of consumers will consider UGC reviews before making a purchasing decision. Embracing UGC not only builds trust among potential visitors but also increases engagement and attracts a larger following through increased social reach, ultimately leading to increased visitations. 63% of marketers have observed personalisation increases customer interactions and ultimately, better conversion rates. SnapSea harnesses UGC by curating user-generated social media posts, allowing destinations to acquire the rights to content highlighting real experiences and perspectives of travellers..

2. Sustainable Tourism: Raise Awareness with Impactful Campaigns like Essential Costa Rica’s “Preserve Paradise”

As sustainability gains prominence, destinations are incorporating eco-friendly practices into their marketing strategies. 81% of travellers worldwide believe that sustainable travel is crucial. By showcasing Essential Costa Rica’s commitment to sustainability through its “Preserve Paradise” campaign which has captivated audiences globally. The "Preserve Paradise" campaign featured engaging content across various channels, including social media, television ads, and digital platforms, reaching millions of potential travellers. Sustainable tourism is also promoted through UGC, as prospective travellers find messaging more authentic and relatable when it comes from fellow travellers.

Essential Costa Rica

3. Visitor and Resident Collaboration: Building Communities, Inspiring Wanderlust

Social media has become a vital platform for destination marketing. Destinations can connect with travellers directly, share engaging content, and build communities around their brand. 73% of marketers say that social media marketing is more efficient than traditional marketing. Marketing Cheshire used SnapSea's features to enhance their #CheshireDay campaign on social media. By actively engaging with their community through various contests, they collected over 200 submissions, with visitors and residents alike highlighting what makes Cheshire so special to them. The textual and visual UGC not only fostered a sense of involvement within the Cheshire community but also served as captivating promotional material. This case study demonstrates the power of UGC and social media to foster a sense of community within the region.

@visitchesterandcheshire - Instagram

4. Influencer Marketing: Powering Destination Dreams through Influential Voices

Collaborating with influencers who have a significant following has become a popular trend for destinations globally. Influencers can promote destinations through their captivating content and personal experiences, influencing their followers' travel choices. Destinations are partnering with influencers to create engaging campaigns and showcase their unique offerings to a broader audience.

5. Personalisation: Crafting Unforgettable Experiences Tailored for Travellers

Personalisation is key to attracting and retaining tourists. Destinations are leveraging data analytics to understand traveller preferences to further tailor their marketing strategies accordingly. By providing personalised recommendations, offers, and itineraries, destinations can create a more immersive and satisfying experience for visitors.

Discover Rutland

6. Following the Wave of Technological Advances

The future of destination marketing lies in embracing new and forward-thinking technology to enhance the traveller experience. This includes leveraging advances in user-generated content,  artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality, and mobile-first applications to provide immersive and interactive experiences before, during, and after the trip. By embracing these strategies, destinations can effectively utilise technology to attract tourists, engage with potential visitors, and stay competitive in the tourism industry.

7. Understanding Your Data: Decoding Traveler Insights for Smarter Marketing

 Data analysis plays a pivotal role in fully understanding your target audience’s behaviour, preferences and trends. By analysing and collating data from multiple sources such as social media interactions, website traffic, and direct qualitative visitor feedback, destinations can gain valuable insights to shape their future marketing strategies. Data-driven marketing enables destinations to segment their audience, personalise messaging, and optimise their campaigns for maximum impact. Research indicates that companies using data-driven strategies are 6 times more likely to be profitable year-over-year. By harnessing the power of data, as well as the advances in data processing, destination marketers can make informed decisions to achieve more consistent return on investment.

8. Leverage Augmented Reality (AR) to Bring Destinations to Life: Marketing Sheffield's Engaging AR Experiences

Augmented reality enhances the visitor experience by overlaying digital information onto the physical environment. Destinations are incorporating AR features into their marketing campaigns as 61% of consumers say they prefer retailers with AR experiences (AI multiple). Consumers  believe it allows them to interact with their surroundings, access additional information, and discover hidden gems within a destination. Marketing Sheffield has successfully utilised augmented reality (AR) to create immersive experiences that bring the city's attractions and rich history to life. 

Marketing Sheffield - Look Up!

By leveraging AR technology, Marketing Sheffield has not only captured the attention of visitors but also enhanced their overall experience and deepened their connection with the city. The immersive nature of AR brings historical landmarks to life, providing a unique and educational perspective that traditional marketing methods often cannot replicate.

9. Collaborative Marketing: Uniting Forces for Unforgettable Journeys Through SnapSea.

Collaboration between various regional stakeholders, including local businesses, hotels, attractions, and accompanying travel trade operators is becoming increasingly important in uniting a single voice established by destination marketers. Joint marketing efforts help destinations provide a cohesive experience to travellers, showcasing the diverse offerings within their preferred destinations. '

By leveraging SnapSea’s Member Management platform, it allows destinations to tap into the creativity and enthusiasm of their business community, creating a sense of involvement and ownership as businesses unite to propagate a consistent brand to their audience. 


Destination marketing is a rapidly evolving industry, driven by digital advancements and constantly changing traveller behaviours. By embracing these nine must-know trends, destinations can stay ahead of the curve and effectively engage with their target audience. SnapSea empowers destinations to create compelling marketing campaigns by leveraging their past visitors to resonate with travellers, ultimately boosting tourism revenue and fostering economic growth within localities and regions. In this ever-changing landscape, destination marketing continues to shape the future of the tourism industry, captivating and inspiring travellers around the world.

For more information on how to utilise UGC to maximise your brand, head back to SnapSea or give us a follow on LinkedIn.

Destination Marketing, Tourism Trends, User-Generated Content (UGC), Digital Marketing, Travel Industry, Social Media, Influencer Marketing, Personalisation, Virtual Reality, Data Analytics
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